Wayne State University

First ever paper published by four economists with the same surname includes Wayne State professor

DETROIT For the first time ever, a team of four economists has published a paper where each author bears the same last name, despite having no relation to each other and working at different institutions.  

Allen Goodman of Wayne State University, Joshua Goodman of Harvard,  Lucas Goodman of the University of Maryland and Sarena Goodman of the Federal Reserve Board of Governors were the authors of “A few Goodmen: Surname-Sharing Economist Coauthors,” which was recently published in Economic Inquiry. The topic of the paper? Its authors and their unique connection.

According to the authors, co-authorship in the economics profession is widely explored. Alphabetical discrimination is one such complication of co-authorship, due to the fact that economists with earlier surname initials have greater career success than their co-authors. The four Goodmans argue that this phenomenon is not observed in academic fields where the order of co-authorship is not alphabetical. The team mentioned that this often leads to economists choosing co-authors with last names that fall later in the alphabet than their own name.

The group presented their humorous paper at the American Economic Association’s annual meeting where they concluded that their collaboration was feasible — they could eliminate the et al. penalty, as the many citations to the paper as “Goodman et al.” will provide equal credit to each author; future breakthroughs on the topic could include authors with the same surname and first initial; and others with the last name Goodman may come out of the woodwork for a future paper entitled, “A Goodman is hard to find!”

View the presentation at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QktKLTLyLIM.

Photo (L to R): Lucas Goodman, Allen Goodman, Sarena Goodman, and Joshua Goodman

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About Wayne State University

Wayne State University is one of the nation’s pre-eminent public research universities in an urban setting. Through its multidisciplinary approach to research and education, and its ongoing collaboration with government, industry and other institutions, the university seeks to enhance economic growth and improve the quality of life in the city of Detroit, state of Michigan and throughout the world. For more information about research at Wayne State University, visit http://research.wayne.edu.